Padmanabhaswamy Temple in the State capital of Thiruvananthapuram hit the headlines when a massive treasure that is valued at over 1 lakh Crore was discovered from its secret vaults, making it the richest temple in the world, displacing the world famous Tirupati Balaji Temple in Andhra Pradesh to the second position.
The treasure included ancient ornaments, crown, bow and utensils of various shapes and sizes made of pure gold. A statue of Krishna embedded with precious stones, which is priced at 5000 crores and a 18 feet gold chain of the deity were some of the other items found in the secret chambers (Nilavara) of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple.
17 kg of gold coins dating back to the period of India East Company, gold in the form of strings, 2.5 kg gold collar, heaps of gem encrusted ‘aval’, thousands of pieces of antique jewellery studded with diamonds and gold vessels were some of the other items. The value of articles stocked in the vaults of the temple, managed by the royal family of the erstwhile Travancore princely state is beyond imagination. According to noted historian Dr M G S Narayanan, Padmanabhaswamy temple dating back to the 9th Century will have several centuries old priceless antiques.
The seven-member panel appointed by the Supreme Court of India has been entrusted of making an inventory of the assets that had remained hidden for over 150 years. The temple has six secret vaults and two of them had not been opened for the past one-and-a-half century. A major chunk of the estimated treasure was stored in the cellar, coded as A. The preparation of inventory of another chamber B will be taken up later and when the full list is compiled it is expected that the total worth of the valuables will reach unimaginable levels. The news has stirred up a lot of interest in both the social media and print media not only within the country but also in foreign countries where many newspapers like Khaleej Times have kept their readers updated on this treasure discovery.
Now that the hidden treasure is out in the open, debates are on as to what should be done with this humongous amount of wealth. The chief minister has said that the temple treasures will be preserved as it is and high tech surveillance and fool proof security measures will be provided to protect the wealth .Historians too opine that as the measureless wealth belongs to the Lord, it is legally and morally wrong to take the money out of the temple. However, there are apprehensions whether these priceless valuables that escaped the eyes of the marauding plunderers of the past will remain safe in its original abode and will be preserved for posterity? The lid of one of the best kept secrets is blown away and to safeguard this massive wealth from the greedy eyes all over will make it a Herculean task for all concerned!